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Go. Beach eyes cannabis task force ahead of retail pot sales rollout

By on September 20, 2022 0

VIRGINIA BEACH, Virginia – With miles of beaches, plenty of restaurants and things to do, Virginia Beach attracts thousands of visitors each year. Many in the resort town want this to continue.

“I don’t think we wanted to create the perception that Virginia Beach is a marijuana destination,” said Randy Thompson of Virginia Beach. “It’s not criticizing this industry. We see the positives. It’s just that we wouldn’t want a liquor store on every corner either.

Thompson is the vice chairman of the Resort Advisory Commission, a kind of city watchdog that brings concerns and ideas to council members.

The group’s latest proposal is to create a cannabis working group. The idea came about while talking with Councilor Guy Tower.

They want to make sure there’s a plan in place so there isn’t a flood of businesses selling marijuana, especially along the waterfront – a hotspot for tourists.

“How do you control that so that passing families don’t walk through a cloud of smoke every two blocks,” Thompson said.

News 3 posed these questions to the governor. His office evaded the question of how marijuana sales would be regulated. Instead, they said any changes to the process would come from the legislature.

Recreational marijuana is now legal to possess, consume, and grow in Virginia, but you still can’t buy it legally until 2024.

Even though the case is still a few years away, the Virginia Beach City Council would like to talk about it.

Councilman Michael Berlucchi agrees to launch a task force.

“We need to bring all parties to the table — zoning officials, law enforcement, business leaders, concerned citizens,” Berlucchi said.

Berlucchi said retail sales could boost the economy and jobs if rolled out in the best way that works for everyone.

“Be really thoughtful and strategic about how Virginia Beach responds to the changing laws and policies coming out of Richmond, so that we can better serve our community, the people who live here, and the people who visit here,” he said. declared.

The formation of a task force in the city is still in its early stages. Berlucchi said the city council is still discussing it, but thinks a majority of them want to move forward with creating one. There’s just no timeline yet for when that will happen.

A spokesperson for Governor Glenn Youngkin’s office sent the following statement when asked by News 3 about the regulation of retail marijuana sales:

“Marijuana retail in Virginia is illegal, any market/process changes there will be determined by the legislature.”

The spokesperson also pointed to the governor’s previous comments on the amended legislation in which Governor Youngkin said, “Well, there was a very active independent commission on the hemp bill and we reflected a great many of the needs that were highlighted by this commission. In fact, to clarify where certain levels of marijuana possession would be penalized and at what level – this was a very important amendment for law enforcement. We increased the age of 21, to buy hemp-related products…we felt that delta 8 and in particular the dangerous synthetic Delta 8 should be taken off the shelves.And of course, we preserved access to CBD to the market…and it clarified some areas that needed to be clarified in order for this bill to do all that it was supposed to do.

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